Coach Jerry Wetzel of Red Zone Threat Management just released a book outlining his excellent unarmed knife defense program. It is 185 pages of rock solid, testable, and easy to implement blade (and blunt weapons) defense. With this book, a willing training partner, a training blade, and a place to train, you could get functional at shutting down a real knife attack and die less often.
The first chapters are a great framing of what a knife defense program needs to look like. The author discusses traditional knife defense programs and outlines the problems with their training modality. The major issue with most is a lack of ‘aliveness’. The highly orchestrated attack lines and total lack of aggressive forward drive one sees in most knife defense programs doesn’t line up with reality. He also points out that you’re not likely to run into a trained knife fighter, but rather someone with a pointy implement and the desire to put it into you as fast and as much as possible. If your knife defense doesn’t take this into account, you need to look into another method.
The author systematically points out the flaws in logic that several knife programs seem to ignore. After you read the early chapters, you’ll be shaking your head at the time you wasted pursuing these other programs. Live and learn.
The Real Secret is that the answer lies in consistent training and understanding what we’re training for.
How Knife Attacks Tend To Look:
Example of highly choreographed knife work:
The Redzone Method:
The best thing about the RZKD program is that it can be trained at full speed, and that the feeder (knife guy) can give a genuine effort to stab you, and you have a reasonable chance to shut it down.
Real attacks have aggressive pressure, multiple rapid attack lines, you may not realize the knife is in play until you’re stabbed, and your empty hand skills will come in real handy when dealing with this problem (so get some), both parties fixate on the blade, it could be really bloody, mostly stabs and NOT slashes, mostly to the torso, and you might have to overcome some of your instincts to be successful.
Coach Wetzel stresses that we might indeed get cut, maybe even badly, but we need to continue fighting until the lights go out, because quitting is not an option.
The Red Zone Knife program blends seamlessly with the other modules that they teach. Commonality of techniques across disciplines, emphasis on cultivating awareness and space management, non-diagnostic defensive postures, and principle based self-defense is the best thing going, in my opinion. Dominating Posture, Pressure, and Position is the key to digging yourself out of the hole.
The author addresses several scenarios in which we might find ourselves:
- Outright ambush, this is worst case
- Posturing with a blade, intimidation
- You’re in a fist fight, then a blade comes out
- You see the knife in hand at a distance as the attacker crashes in.
- Grounded against a knife
Luckily for us, the way to deal with these issues follows a very streamlined decision tree, with a common road map to follow.
Step One: RUN… but if you can’t….
Step Two: Control the Weapon Bearing Limb (strategy depends on range). And monitoring for a hand switch.
Step Three:Two-on-One to the ground if the attacker presses in, or the Lasso if he retracts the weapon bearing limb.
Step Four: Weapon disarms. Luckily there’s only two you need.
It’s as simple as this (but it’s not always easy). The author also covers a few less common circumstances to try out including fouling a draw, working against a wall, the ‘hostage’ type scenario, and grounded situations.
I’ve trained in several seminar style classes that included RZKD methods, and I am super excited that this book is out to have a book to work from for my training group. I think you’ll really like.
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